Joyful Liberation

Joyful Liberation

Friday, September 19, 2008

Message From and Unschooled Teen

I had to share this! I got it from another blog a read. I am so happy to be living a joyful, liberated life with my incredible unschooled kids :) This could be Aspen's story totally!


There once was an unschooled teen that wanted to go to school with the other kids. Here's his story:

Education From the Free Eye
Written by Kevin Snavley

All my life I have unschooled. The only thing that could be remotely considered school that I attended was pre-school, and of course, that was all fun and games. That was just life, how things were. I always wondered in the back of my head what it was like to be there, in a school building all day. How horrible it was to sit there for hours on end being lectured by crazy teachers and doing hours of homework. And then somewhere in between most of my friends going to school and me wondering, I got caught up in "catching up" to everyone else. For a while, around age 12, I always wanted to be on-track with the kids at school. It was probably because I felt stupid or less intelligent than them, which really wasn't the case. They just knew more meaningless facts than I did. It took me until last year to finally realize that, and to truly understand the reasons and joys of unschooling. Why it really is so much better than public school.

For as long as I can remember I have had friends that have gone to public school. Always. I've never actually had true unschooling friends aside from my cousins. So in a way, I sort of grew up with slightly hybrid thinking. One defending or longing to be in public school, and one completely against it all with pro-unschooling opinions. My parents always told us why public school is bad, but of course as a kid I'm not really going to understand. I never had the experience to. So I just kind of accepted that it was a bad place that I shouldn't be until I was about 14. Because I didn't go to school I always thought I had horrible writing abilities, and a bus load of other things. I finally made the decision to go to my freshman year of high school so I could figure it all out. Why is public school widely considered better? Why do my parents and unschooling parents everywhere preach it's a bad place to be? Why is unschooling so much better? I got all of my answers.

I would be lying if I said I went 100% percent for personal reasons. I had one friend in particular who was pro-school completely and thought I was wasting my life. In a way, I wanted to prove to her that I could do it, and if/if not it was better than unschooling. I guess up until I started writing this I had forgotten about that completely. I kind of kept the fact that this whole thing was an experiment in the back of my mind. I mean, it did feel nice to be "normal". But is it best? For the sake of writing this I'm going to skip through the school year and spare you the details of explaining the entire 9 months. School was exactly as I expected. Well, the whole face of it was anyway. It wasn't as close to as horrible as my parents said it was. The days went by pretty fast, it wasn't horribly boring, and I got to see my friends. The one thing I noticed the first day though, was how little "socialization" time there is. That's one thing all the kids say, "I get to hang out with my friends!". Definitely not the kind of "hanging out" I was used to. At that point it seemed like a stupid reason to want to be there.

After being there a few weeks, I started to realize the being I truly am. I wasn't stupid, not even close. If anyone was stupid it was the other 90% of the kids that were there. Everyone raved about my writing, my honors English teacher included. I did good in all my classes despite NEVER having a formal lesson in anything. That's when I realized that me, an unschooler, never been "taught" anything that these kids have, is doing better at the game than they are. Pretty ironic, no? Some of my favorite classes were Honors English 1, Japanese 1, and Jazz Choir. Those were the best.

Something I really began to hate about the school days was waking up at 6:30 am, staying there for six hours, then swimming for another 2, before going home to do meaningless homework. The first semester I got pretty lazy, and ended with a 3.3 GPA. Still, better than most kids, but not my best. Second semester I ended with a 3.8. I couldn't stand the fact that I was surrounded by unmotivated, stupid (not the academic way, the general manner they acted) people. Another trend I noticed was "can't". EVERYBODY used that one. The whole 9 months all in all were good for me. Negatives and positives. I learned that what I was doing before was BETTER than what kids at school get, I learned that what my parents told me wasn't completely heresy, I experienced something that I had never done before, the mystery was gone, and best of all, I can now defend the unschooling philosophy without any doubt in my mind and be credible at the same time. I also understood why public school kids act like they do. It's called loss of motivation.

I quickly realized that if I had to endure that shit for 9 years, I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. Friends have told me "you would have been a complete honors student!". I say no, I would've have been a lazy ass bum that wanted nothing more than a couch in life. (Which, I might add I learned a lot from TV. But you get my point. ;P) The thing that made me responsible, smart, and motivated was my unschooling life. And as stupid, annoying, unmotivated, whatever most of the public school kids are, you really can't blame them. While the other public school kids that can relate to me somewhat complain about them as well; they don't understand either. You never really can unless you have lived a free life. (Something else that I realized were the people that I was already friends with, were some of the most intelligent people in the building. How's that for coincidental?) Some personalities are different and can endure 12 years of school plus college, most cannot. Between teachers telling them they're not good enough, and wasting years of their life on something that doesn't really matter, they get fried. Most of the time it goes unnoticed too, you just kind of evaporate. I started to feel the same thing happening to me just in those nine months. Every thought you have, dream you want to fulfill, inspiration that strikes you, it all goes on the back burner, and eventually you just forget how to live any other way altogether.

Would I recommend sending a kid to school? Absolutely not. It's much too easy to lose your way. One thing I would advise though is to find unschooling friends. Would I recommend any other unschoolers go to school? If it's going to do them good like me, sure. If they want to see what it's like, sure. Otherwise, it's going to be a shit hole. Plain and simple. It would be beneficial for everyone to see what it's like, but not everyone can go through it with the same view point. So like everything else in our lives, it's up to us to make that decision. But now here I am, the year I thought would never end completed, and I have to decide what I want to do for the remaining 3. Over the last few days I've really been reflecting about what I truly want. Is it to finish high school, deal with everything I don't like, and benefit from the things I do? Or stop and go straight to college, and focus on what I want with life? That's something I'll be thinking about for a while.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Soccer Moms....and Dads?

Willow started soccer last night. Josh is coaching and he did such a great job! He has such a gift with kids. Josh has been playing soccer on teams since he was 3. He quit last year because in Utah, he outgrew the rec leagues and well, we did the competitive soccer thing with Aspen and it was terrible. He did not even want to start down that road.

I am writing about this because I have been tossing and turning all night after some comments were made by parents on the team and I have to figure out something to do.

I was there helping most of the time. There are eleven 3-6 yr old kids and I thought maybe I should jump in and help just in case. I have to be there for legality reasons because Josh is only 15 and they have to be 16 to be "official".

My problem is I have to be in 2 places at the same time. Mara has art at 5:30 and soccer starts at 5:30. So, I drop Josh and Willow off early, race to art and drop off Mara and then race back to the field :) I am only about 10 minutes late and this time there was a dad out there helping so I thought great! We actually have parent volunteers! As I was walking to the field I overheard another dad tell his little girl to stop crying and wear the shin guards. He said "Don't you know all the other kids on your team will see you crying and how stupid you look!" I was mortified. Who talks to their child like that?? I felt like crying....

Well, what I soon realized was that the parent volunteer I thought we had was not helping at all but he was totally berating his 3 yr old little boy. It was terrible. I have never witnessed anything so awful. I just kept encouraging Andrew as his entire family, Mom, Dad and grandparents, yelled from the sidelines. He is 3 for Gods sake!!! Josh was so great with him. At one point Andrew was crying and his dad said "get back in there, look those kids are trying, why aren't you trying?" I am just appalled. When the game was over his family came over to us as we were putting the balls and cones away and they were asking lots of questions. They were just putting him down left and right. I said 'you know, Andrew did really great!" his mom cut me off and said "he DID NOT do great" I was left speechless. This entire time this 3 yr old little boy is standing there. I can't imagine what he had to endure the rest of the evening...

There were other moms and dads too that complained about the team name..."the red wolves" I told then all that they kids picked the name and one mom said "great, where was I when that was picked" I wanted to scream at her and say, well it wasn't your choice anyway! I don't know if I will make it through 8 weeks of these people.

I guess my job is to try and shelter the kids on the field from all the negativity being spewed and allow Josh to teach them that soccer is really fun. I hope I don't lose it! I am writing up something to give the parents next week about "sideline etiquette" :) Hopefully that will help some?? If this is what they mean by "soccer Moms" I am scared!

It is just another screaming example of why my kids will never set foot in the public school system and why I am so particular about the teachers they have in classes. This kind of crap goes on all the time and no one says anything, in fact, this is why those parents are all like this now. It is that "recess fear", that school mentality. You can't show emotion, everyone will laugh at you,...God forbid you fail at something...everyone will laugh at you.

Well, these people are in for an education in treating kids with respect. They are on Josh's field to learn soccer in a fun, positive atmosphere. I will not tolerate the few adults that feel it is there responsibility to but in and tell their child they suck at what they are doing. I especially don't want Willow to be affected by it.

We will see how the next practice goes. I certainly hope it is better! Willow had a great time and loves soccer regardless. I will post some pictures soon. We call her "gazelle 2.5" :) Aspen was the gazelle, a nickname we gave her because she is so dang fast! One of her coaches called her that too! Willow is following in her big sisters footsteps!

Culture Club

We are in a club called culture club that meets once a month to learn about different cultures all over the world. This month we talked about Brazil. Mara made some Brazilian honey spice bread and Josh made a shrimp frittata. Josh also did a report on the origin of the Brazilian people. Did you know they came from Siberia?? I didn't :) Willow wanted to talk about Carnaval and the Amazon rainforest. She dressed up like she was in the Carnaval parade in her sparkly dress and glittery butterfly mask and demonstrated the dance ti to the Samba. She and I also made some paper mache puppets. Here are some pictures of the process...

First we took balloons and blew them up. We covered them in strips of newspaper dipped in a glue and water mix and left them to dry overnight.

Then Willow painted hers with gesso to seal it and get it ready for decorating. I wanted to shape mine into something so I added more newspaper shaped info facial features....

Then we left them to dry....

Mara painted mine :) She did a great job!

I LOVE Willow's hair :) She did such a great job on her puppet. We learned that the ones they carry and march in Carnaval at 10 feet tall! They are simply amazing.

Willow did a report on animals of the rainforest and Carnaval :)

I learned to do 3-D Brazilian embroidery.... I love it, it is really relaxing.

After the presentations, we all enjoyed some Brazilian food. Well, all except that frittata that Josh made. It was so gross and my house and van still smell like shrimp! I told him I was picking what we made for India next month :)

Multicultural Dinner Fest

On Sunday Night we joined the Bray Family in a Multicultural Dinner Fest. We had a Brazilian BBQ. It was really good! We are planning to do this regularly throughout the year. We are thinking food from Ethiopia or Finland for the next time around :) Just to coincide with culture club.

Everyone got in on the chopping.....

We had Aroz Brasiliero ( a rice dish), Churrasco a Gaucha (the BBQ marinade)and...

Couve a Mineira (a spinach salad)

Molho a Campanha (a cold sauce to serve with the meat)

Laranjas (orange salad)

We also had a lovely chocolate birthday cake that Ainsley made for Alyssa :) Happy Birthday Alyssa!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where did the week go???

Well, we had such a busy week that I have neglected the blog again :)

Ok, it wasn't that busy :) I have just become addicted to World Of Warcraft and can't stop playing :) Josh is in heaven, and well, so is David. Right now I am a level 17 mage.

Anyway, in between WOW here is what we have been up to this week :)

On Monday:
  • Willow had her "co-op" and Mara came along to make salt dough creations with great friends
  • Willow had art class
  • Mara had a performance (which went great!) Lexi went and then came home to sleepover with Mara
  • Josh had D and D club and came home from his marathon sleepover at Justin's and brought Cody home with him for another marathon sleepover:)
On Tuesday:
  • Willow had ballet
  • Josh and Mara had another overnight with Cody and Lexi
  • I had a girl scout service unit meeting
  • I started playing WOW :)
  • I made Rene's soup...yummy!

On Wednesday:

  • we skipped art and craft because I stayed up too late playing WOW ;)
  • Mara had Jazz
  • Josh had a coaches meeting (he is coaching Willow's soccer team! :) )
  • we got tons of books from the library on Brazil for culture club coming up next week
  • Willow checked out a bunch of books and read them to me. Willow started reading a few weeks ago..
  • Josh started reading a D and D chapter book....I can't remember the name..

On Thursday:

  • Josh and Mara had guitar lessons
  • Willow and I took the dogs to the park and met some new friends
  • Mara and I went to lunch and picked up supplies to make things for Etsy
  • Mara had art class
  • I went on a marathon grocery shopping trip
  • Mara and I started reading Lord of The Flies for our Mother Daughter book club next week
  • I played WOW

On Friday:

  • I made applesauce wheat germ muffins and potato leek soup and David made us these amazing club sandwiches for lunch
  • Willow did a play
  • I played WOW with Josh...starting to see my addiction??
  • Willow and I read about 40 kidding :)
  • Mara had a performance
  • We took down the pool..too cold for swimming!


Well, today, David, Josh and Willow went to Grandma and Grandpas for a while, David needed to cut some wood for some things he is building.. Mara and I are blogging :) and reading Lord of the Flies. I am making a BBQ chicken in the oven right now. It is actually a very relaxing weekend....the week to come is maddening!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sam's 6th B-day

Tonight we went bowling at the U of U bowling alley to celebrate Sam's 6th birthday! Willow and Sam have been best buds almost since the moment they met, around age 2. They have been writing letters to each other for almost a year now. These days, instead of mailing them, we usually just pass them along when we see each other :) It was a great party Sam!

Go David!

Sam made a strike! Way to go :)

Go Willow!
Willow had this knack for literally chunking the ball at the floor. It seemed as if the floor would crack open! We all just stood back and cringed.:) We gave her some pointers and she came up with the "running to the lane" move and the "push the ball move" :)

you have to watch this video of Sam and Willow! :)

Go Ainsley!

Aric performs "The Flinstone's Twinkle Toes" move for a spare!~

Happy Birthday Sam!

About Me

My photo
I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and 2 partners and married to my best friend and love of my life for 28 years now! We co-habitate with 2 cats, Asha and Gustav, 1 dog, Juniper Wren, and 2 Chinchillas, Ozwald and Turbo. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 15 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint, travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!